28 February 1947 |
|Style||Wing Chun, Wing Tsun|
|Teacher(s)||Pak Cheung, Leung Sheung, Yip Man|
|Rank||10th level m.o.c. founder wingtsun kuen|
|Notable students||Keith R. Kernspecht, Emin Boztepe|
Leung chose the spelling of Wing Tsun to differentiate his teachings from those of other Wing Chun schools, and to keep them from passing off their style as his own. (There is no standard romanization of Cantonese; the Chinese characters remain the same.)
Among the achievements in his career outside of teaching and writing about WingTsun, Leung has been a fight director in some Hong Kong films. Leung was the director and screenwriter for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Kung Fu World! (大踢爆), a humouristic documentary on the history and culture of kung fu. Leung appeared on episode 1 of the first season of the BBC show Mind, Body & Kick Ass Moves; a 10 part series on martial arts masters of the east hosted by Chris Crudelli. He has also served on the board of directors for the Ving Tsun Athletic association from 1996-1997.
On 20 November 2009, Leung was sentenced to two months in prison for assaulting his former girlfriend, which was later quashed. Regina Lip Sik-ying testified that Leung banged her head against the floor, kicked her in the stomach, grabbed her throat and boxed her ears. Leung testified that he pulled Lip down from a window where she was threatening to commit suicide, and that she then fell and hit her head. Leung remained free pending appeal. On 29 April 2010, the conviction was quashed by Court of First Instance Judge Darryl Gordon Saw. Judge Saw ruled that the medical reports did not support Lip's testimony but did support Leung's testimony. Leung was cleared of all charges.
- 1 Lineage controversy
- 2 Wing Tsun
- 2.1 History
- 2.2 Lineage
- 2.3 Principles
- 2.4 Training
- 2.5 Forms
- 2.6 Grading system
- 2.7 Uniform and Equipment
- 2.8 Organization and growth
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Leung claims to be the last closed door disciple of the late Yip Man, though some of Yip Man's students have disputed whether he ever even studied with Yip. Thus, in addition to disputes about Leung's seniority (among Yip's students), there is also some question about his actual lineage. However, photo evidence is existing that shows that Yip Man did visit Leung Ting's wedding, which suggests that he was a student of Yip Man.
This controversy was further fueled in part by allegations that a photo that Leung has presented showing him with Yip Man was doctored or altered from a photograph that shows Yip Man with the chief editor of the New Martial Hero magazine. Leung, in turn, has denied the head change and further claimed that Yip Man himself who told the reporter from New Martial Heroes that Leung was his closed door student in the article. Other photo evidence shows Leung at Yip Man's funeral with an armband that apparently denotes a rank other than first generation (i.e., an armband that indicates that Leung was considered to be a grand-student of Yip Man's rather than a direct student.).
The particular phonetic spelling of 詠春 as Wing Tsun was picked by the branch founder Leung Ting to differentiate his branch from the others. WingTsun (without a space) is the trademarked form used by the International WingTsun Association (IWTA), not the name of the style.
The main difference between Wing Tsun and other Wing Chun styles is the WT teaching method. The style's creator Leung Ting developed the system to be easier to learn and teach compared to more traditional styles of Wing Chun. This idea was later expanded upon by Keith Kernspecht, head of the European Wing Tsun Organization based in Germany, by introducing many of the WT specific forms (like the leg forms). WT has a more structured, school-like curriculum of teaching compared with other Wing Chun styles.
As a descendant of Wing Chun, Wing Tsun shares much of the same history. It only branches after the death of Yip Man, as student Leung Ting decided to take what he had learned from his master and teach it in a much more direct fashion than was traditionally taught in Wing Chun.
The principle of directness of teaching was expanded upon by Keith Kernspecht in Germany, and his curriculum is the one most taught today. Besides creating some of the modern forms, Kernspecht also developed a more practical and applied version of some WingTsun techniques, collectively called ‘BlitzDefence’. These focus on defending against a traditional Western style attacker and ending the confrontation as quickly as possible, while limiting the damage to any involved parties. By organizing the WingTsun Association, Kernspecht helped spread the style across the western world.
The official lineage of Wing Tsun, leading up to Leung Ting, is as follows:
The eight principles of Wing Tsun form a system of aggressive self-defense that allows one to adapt immediately to the size, strength and fighting style of an attacker. There are many ways to express the principles, since they are essentially very simple. However, it takes years of performing the forms and practicing chi sao with a knowledgeable instructor to train the body to follow the principles reflexively and to understand their applications in specific situations.
As well as describing the progression of a self-defense response, the strength principles also describe the progression a WingTsun student must follow over years of training: first, form training and a great deal of punching to learn to be relaxed in a fight and to (counter intuitively) punch without tension; second, countless hours of chi sao training to be able to yield to — and exploit — the attacker's strength; finally, strength training specific to WT to increase punching and striking power.
- Go forward (問路尋橋手先行) Advance immediately in order to attack the opponents attacking action, IF contact is made with the limbs use reactions developed from chi-sao(allowing for Chi Sao reflexes to take over) or — even better — to strike first. This counter intuitive reaction will often surprise the attacker, and moves the fight into a close distance in which tactile reflexes will dominate over visual reactions, where the Wing Tsun practitioner is likely to have an advantage.
- Stick to the opponent center, not their hands or arms(手黐手,無埞(地方)走) If you are unable to strike and disable your opponent try to turn them on their axis. do not maintain constant contact with his arms, how can he launch an attack at you without your knowing? This applies for the time only when the opponent is blocking your shortest way of attack. Once there is opportunity, you give up sticking, and go in with your attack (flow).
- Yield to a greater force (用巧勁，避拙力-即借力） Since one cannot expect to be stronger than every potential attacker, one must train in such a way as to be able to win even against a stronger opponent. Chi Sao teaches the reflexes necessary to react to an opponent's attacks. When an attack is simply stronger than yours, your trained reflexes will tell your body to move out of the way of the attack and find another angle for attack.
- Follow through (迫步追形) As an extension of the first principle, if an opponent retreats, a Wing Tsun practitioner's immediate response is to continue moving forward, not allowing the opponent to recover and have an opportunity to reconsider his strategy of attack. Many styles that rely on visual cues prefer to step back and wait and time their attacks, as commonly seen in sport and tournament fighting.
- Give up your own Force One needs to be relaxed in order to move dynamically and to react to the actions of an opponent. When you are tense, your "own force" acts as a parking brake—you must disengage it first before you can move quickly.
- Redirect your opponent's Force This is similar to the third fighting principle. When an attacker wants to use strength to overpower a fighter, the response is not to try to overcome strength with strength but to nullify this force by moving your attacker's force away from you or to move yourself away from it.
- Use Your Attacker's Force against him Take advantage of the force your opponent gives you. If an opponent pulls you toward him, use that energy as part of your attack. Or if an opponent pushes the left side of your body, you can act as a revolving door and use that force in an attack with your right arm.
- Add Your Own Force In addition to borrowing power from your attacker, you can add your own force in an attack when your hand is free.
Wing Tsun training is based on developing reflexes through Dan Chi Sao (single arm Chi Sao), Poon Sao (rotating hands), and Chi Sao (sticky hands). Training is split into various forms, many of which are only learned when a martial artist has passed the student levels of Wing Tsun.
Lat Sao (甩手)
The Lat Sao program is something particular to the European branch of the Leung Ting style of teaching WingTsun; the other Wing Chun branches, including the Hong Kong branch of Leung Ting's organization, generally progress in a more traditional manner from the forms to Chi Sao training to sparring. Lat Sao roughly translates as "free hands" or "tumbling hands" training.
Lat Sao is a sensitivity drill to obtain specific chi sao (sticky hands) reflexive responses. Although it may look combative, it should not be mistaken for sparring or fighting. Lat Sao is a game, in which one partner plays the part of an attacker, and the other a defender. The attacker and defender generally switch roles frequently, or after a set number of attacks. If one is not paying attention, or if the teacher has not explained the drill properly, the training can accelerate and become competitive; if this happens, the students are missing the point of the exercise altogether. Lat Sao is not about hitting your opponent, but about feeding him attacks that he trains to counter. As your partner becomes better, the attacks can be gradually made more difficult to counter by making them faster or more precise. However, once the attack is consistently getting through, it should be slowed down again, so that the defender can identify his mistake, or "hole" in the defense.
Lat Sao can be both beneficial and detrimental when not practiced with awareness of its benefits and its pitfalls. The benefits are generally a more technical and more precise style, because the student spends time testing his limits and finding his mistakes. A secondary benefit is a student's greater confidence and less shock when first confronted with free-sparring programs. The pitfalls are over-reliance on patterns learned in drills and mechanical execution by rote, rather than feeling the opponent's pressure and reacting to it. It is beneficial to confront the students with unexpected solutions to problems posed in Lat Sao, as an exercise and to demonstrate that each Lat Sao drill is just one of very many possible solutions to a given problem. A good exercise is also asking a student to solve Lat Sao problems using newly learned techniques in each program; even if the things they come up with do not work, the habit of investigating the problem from different angles and not taking Lat Sao as something set in stone will help them avoid the pitfalls.
German Lat Sao is being described in the afore mentioned. The German Style Lat Sao in the 1990s and early 2000s was used widely in Europe and America. In German Lat Sao the opponents tend to go through a longer, more complex sequence building it up over time. In Chinese Lat Sao the focus is more on realistic powerful attack, so the sequence generally ends within two-three strikes.
In more advanced Lat Sao the two opponents square off and both try to gain the upper hand, allowing their Chi Sao reactions to take over.
One of the features of Wing Tsun that differ it from other branches of wing chun is ground fighting trainings. Unlike grappling martial arts that wrestle on the ground or other styles which borrow grappling techniques from such arts, Wing Tsun is claimed to use its own principles on the ground to overcome the opponent.[dubious ]
The basic forms of WingTsun are covered in the student grades, with further refinements of application and technique in later forms. The goal of WingTsun is to be a "redundant" form, in that the teaching will build upon movement and reactions previously learned to allow greater understanding of the material faster. Each building block may not be completely understood when it is taught (although it should be understood in the limited capacity that a level explains it), however the earlier training will act as a foundation for training in later levels.
One characteristic of Wing Tsun is its structured teaching system. While many styles of martial arts teach techniques in a non-linear fashion, WT's system is structured like a school curriculum, with each grade building on the previous, rather than just introducing more information to learn. Also, unlike the traditional master-apprentice model of teaching where a student would follow his instructor for several years or even a lifetime, the IWTA's structured approach ensures all students receive a complete WT education at each grade level. A busy individual who can only train twice a week would not miss out on important concepts or ideas that would give their devoted classmate, seemingly always in class, an unfair advantage – though an advantage would likely arise from their classmate's diligence and further developed skills from the extra hours of training.
The WingTsun curriculum consists of twelve student grades which cover the first two forms, Siu Nim Tao and Chum Kiu, as well as the related Chi Sao training and applications. In addition to the hand forms there is also a standardized set of leg forms that are learned with the Siu Nim Tau.
The student grades can be split into three sections, based on the topics they cover:
1st – 4th, Learning fundamentals across the three ranges.
- 1st – Fundamentals of movement and style, long range engaging, beginning of Siu Nim Tao.
- 2nd – Long range fighting, with bridging, all of Siu Nim Tao.
- 3rd – Transitioning from Long to mid-range attacks.
- 4th – Transitioning from mid to short-range attacks, beginning of Chum Kiu.
5th – 8th, Ranges applied with movement and transition.
- 5th – Short range attacks, and fighting with two hands simultaneously.
- 6th – Poon Sao, Chi Sao
- 7th – Chi Sao 1st attack
- 8th – Chi Sao
9th – 12th, Application of the style, against kicks.
- 9th – Against a single attacker.
- 10th – Against multiple attackers.
- 11th – Against a single attacker with a weapon.
- 12th – Against multiple attackers with weapons.
At student grade 9 the student is expected to not only know the fundamentals of the style (as in grade 8) but be able to apply it effectively against an attacker. The subtle, but important difference between these two grades means that either one of these, depending on the school, can be considered equivalent to the "black belt" rank. There is no consensus, as there is no direct formal comparison.
In some schools graduation through the levels may be signified by different colored shirts, such as white up to 5, gray for level 5–8, and black for level 9–12. This depends entirely on the convention of the school.
Following the student grades are twelve instructor grades. At the instructor levels, the student begins training in the more advanced forms of Wing Tsun including Biu Tze (標指), Wooden Dummy (木人樁), Butterfly Knives (八斬刀) and Long Pole (六點半棍).
The instructor grades are themselves split into three sections, each of which with a particular focus in mind. From 1st to 4th Technician level, the student works on his technique, continuously improving and refining it as he learns Biu Tze and begins learning Wooden Dummy. Between 5th to 8th Practitioner level, the student learns the final parts of the system, and should have the whole of it, as well as be able to apply everything he's learned fluently and effortlessly. From 9th to 11th Philosopher level, the student is expected to understand the mental, and spiritual, elements of the style, and should contribute back to the style by searching for weaknesses and suggesting improvements in teaching methods, techniques, and drills. The final, 12th grade is awarded only posthumously, as it presupposes that the one who achieved it, has achieved perfection – and as that is impossible as long as one remains human, it is forever out of reach.
Each instructor grade takes correspondingly longer to achieve. The first twelve student levels take about four years to complete at average attendance twice weekly. The first technician level after that is another year of training; each subsequent grade takes an extra year – so, second technician is two years, third is three, fourth is four, and so on. Of course people can pass their grades faster if they attend class more frequently and train out of class, but generally this is the timeline that one can expect.
Uniform and Equipment
While different schools will have different equipment and uniforms, there are some common elements amongst them.
Uniform varies from school to school, however advanced students will usually wear black, and lower level students will usually wear white or, if more advanced, grey. These colors are often, but not always, displayed on the students school T-shirt.
While special elasticated "kung-fu trousers" are often worn for safety (preventing caught feet and toes when training), it is also common to see normal track/jogging bottoms worn by low level students. Each school will have different rules.
Instructors in WingTsun always wear black uniforms, with advanced instructors being signified with red being stripes featured on the uniform trousers. Gold or Yellow highlights are often used to signify additional rank, though this convention is far from universal.
While WT is mostly an empty handed style, it does use weapons when the student is sufficiently advanced. It also has some equipment that is used for training.
- The Muk Yan Jong, or wooden dummy, is used for training of the form named after it.
- Various punch bags and pads.
- Small Wooden Pole and Assault Knives
- Butterfly Swords.
- Six and a Half Point Pole or Long Pole.
Organization and growth
The official umbrella organization for WingTsun, the International WingTsun Association (IWTA), is headquartered in Hong Kong and led by Leung Ting. The IWTA has schools in over 60 countries, and has gained a large following in the western world. There are now over 2,000 WingTsun schools in Europe, most of them in Germany and its neighboring countries. With over 1,000,000 practitioners worldwide, the IWTA is currently one of the largest martial arts organizations in the world. The EWTO (European WingTsun Organization) headquarters is situated in Heidelberg, Germany. In Eastern-Europe Wing Tsun has also existed since 1985 (in current form). The headquarters are in Hungary.
- "Wing Tsun Worldwide". Kung Fu Magazine. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- Ting Leung at the Internet Movie Database
- It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Kung Fu World!!! at Hong Kong Movie Database
- Dai tek baau
- Mind, Body & Kick Ass Moves at the Internet Movie Database
- "Kung fu master found guilty of beating girlfriend". The Standard. 20 November 2009.
- Chiu, A (30 April 2010). "Kung fu master's conviction quashed". South China Morning Post.
- "Leung Ting assault involving former girlfriend acquittal". Hong Kong Daily News (in Chinese). Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- "A Scandal of the Wing-Chun School". 5 September 1979. Retrieved 20 November 2006.
- Senft, Markus (5 September 1999). "The Change-head Incident Interview". Retrieved 20 November 2006.
- Wing Tsun Kuen by Leung Ting
- "What is WingTsun?" – IWTA